Sunday, May 29, 2011

CCP's War On Bots: Ghost Suite Tears, Best Tears

Note: This is a copy of a blog post I wrote a few weeks back updated with newer posts, including a nice juicy post from someone who had 5 accounts banned.  I renamed it so that the post would get around language filters.  Besides, I like the name better.

Surfing the net searching the seedy underworld of Eve Online botting sites gives an idea of what CCP's War on Bots™ looks like from the botters' perspective.  One discussion thread on the GhostSuite forums about bans picked up steam starting on 8 May.  Here are some ban reports for those who would like some details of what CCP may or may not be doing in the on-going war.

From 8 May:  I love the comment about how sitting at the computer didn't save Anonymous A.

I know two people who got banned and here's what they were doing.

Anonymous A:
Program used: StealthMiner
Accounts: 3 accounts per computer + Orca; all on one comp
Mining days per week: 6
Average hours per day: 14
Mining location: All characters in same system
Mining equipment: All hulks plus Orca
Profit per day: $250M approx (not even close to all level 5)
Length before getting banned: Approximately 1 month
Banned Characters: Every character used on PC, including 3 that were never involved in mining
Banned Length: 7 days
Notes: Was actually at computer most of the time and was present when banned; doesn't matter if you're at the machine.

Anonymous B:
Program used: TinyMiner
Accounts: 2 accounts per computer; two computers; total of 4
Mining days per week: 6-7
Average hours per day: 20
Mining location: Max of two characters in same system; moved between systems every 2-3 days
Mining equipment: All retrievers
Profit per day: $100M approx
Length before getting banned: Approximately 1 month
Banned Characters: Only 1 computer (2 accounts) was banned
Banned Length: 14 days
9 May: CCP bans 4 accounts for the activities of one:

"I have only been mining one of my miners now for about a month and a half. The other miners have been sitting out. I had a miner mining for 23/7 same system. Stealth would sit idle every 10 to 15 runs for 10 to 15 minutes and log off every 200-250 minutes for 10 to 15 minutes.

"I came back Monday and Wednesday to find the same system message on Eve, I dont remember the message as I thought it had to do with jamming errors from rats; eve was open and GhostSuite had stopped mining. It wasnt showing the session had ended, just looked like it had locked up. I came home yesterday to find the the account had been banned. I woke up this morning to find that a second account that I had not used in over a month in a half with GS was banned for macro use.

"Only thing in common was the ip address and the email on the account. So far the other accounts I have, have not been banned yet. I will update further if I have any other accounts banned, as they do not have the same email address on the accounts.

"Guessing that I was reported by other users as the system I was in the rats jam heavily and GS cant handle the jamming. (I tried setting up ECCM in the tanking tab of settup-didnt have any success with it) I have come back to my account being jammed by rats for hours at a time. This may have other gamers reporting that. Especially since the systems being mined have been thinned out by banned accounts, making it more likely to be visably macroing.
10 May: CCP bans another 4 accounts for someone using the GhostSuite bot.  This person needs to buy a clue, as it appears he also started a thread on the official Eve Online forums about getting banned.

"FYI got banned after a number of years myself, worst thing is over the last 2-3 months ive hardly used ghost miner other than for autopilot aspect,

"Was miening about 6-10 hours a day (sometimes only 4-5) in a newbie system....

"Basically i hold 4 accounts (only run GM on 1 of them) all 4 have been banned, im apealing the ban (as i said havent realy used GM at all for the last couple of months) but they seem to have a very low priorty on dealing with banned petitions, was submitted a week ago (submitted two) and have had 0 responce form them, also when accounts were banned agian no email just your acocunt is banned for two weeks on start up, as these acocunts are all paid for by credit car dit will be interesting to see if they will also refund the two week banned peiord as time not used."

13 May:  CCP bans 4 more accounts from 2 different users.

From deadme4t.  Apparently a safety feature designed to keep CCP from detecting bot use didn't quite protect him:

User XXXXXXXX is banned
Last login: 2011.05.13 07:22
Number of visits: 2716
Reason: EULA/TOS Violation - Macro use
Until: 2011.05.27

Login message.

Only used GS in a VM, in .8space Its my only alt, fully paid account, I use the $ to fund PVP on my main. I might not play eve anymore if I have to mission or rat to make $

Mining ~16hrs a day randomly. I upgraded to the GS alternate startup method as soon as it was available.

From Voska.  This indicates that CCP are using technical means of identification and not just relying on reports.  I know that CCP Sreeg said they were developing automatic ways of detecting bots, but a lot of people in the botting community don't believe it.

"I just got 3 accounts all banned as of this morning. Only one had received a warning from CCP. 2 Were in the same system mining ~9 hours a day. the other was 23 jumps away in a system with 4 people but mining ~14 hours a day.

"Same ban durration as you deadme4t

"im slightly amused that they didnt ban my Orca pilot that was in fleet with them"
17 May: Someone reports getting a number of accounts banned for 30 days.

"I have recently been forced to put a number of my accounts on unpaid leave for 1x month, or so evesupprt told me too

"I was using GS BUT i have a feeling there is something like a 'criteria match' going on here as one of the accounts that was banned was not used/logged into for about a month. "

20 May:  Looks like CCP Sreegs had another good day.

From jaec:

"Banned today. No warning, all my accounts, even the ones that don't mine at all.

I mine 8 hours per day on a schedule, I guess I didn't move systems often enough. "

From JustDana:

"I just received 2 more bans myself. I lost 3-4 miners total so far. The contributing factor was they were being disconnected over and over and over. windows being minimized... ive posted about this before.

"Were you receiving disconnects before you got the ban? I was running max of 8 hours per day.
From macro:

"eye they banned mine but also my main that was wharsh nvr macrod with him o well "

24 May: Some indication on how CCP is verifying bot use.

"what about a GM or whomever that min a window. i was on pause in the field... for about 20 minutes because ive been nursing my miners from work. so i seen my "selected item window" just randomly minimize. i had to un min it, it was pinned as well.

"so i dock up after un-min the window.. and undock after sitting for 5-15 minutes and now my selected item window is at the bottom of my screen and my overview at the top...

"this is the same horse crap that happened with 3 other miners before they got banned.

"the map got min and moved as well. "

27 May: Someone reports getting 5 accounts banned.

"Hello again, I finally had a response back from eve.

"One account was deemed a bot user - from what i can gather by accusation not "evidence" although unproven either way as eve don't wish to discuss this any further... a shame as i can see many legitimate reasons but still - it's their game.

"For clarification see below: -

Eve warning info

"All other accounts were banned due to "direct association" (Same IP I believe) and hence all 5 accounts were taken out of action.

"Solution - I'm going to ditch/sell the targeted macro account and start a new one on another unique email address.

"Small note - if banned - don't forget to send petitions from all your banned accounts (if all have a unique email) as it gives eve GM's something to do

"Fly safe all "

These are just the cases reported.  I don't know how popular GhostSuite is, but it appears that CCP has tuned their detection algorithms to detect this bot.

Using bots is bad.  Using this bot may mark a player as stupid.

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